The live poker scene in France is as dead as Roy Orbison after officials applied enough pressure to see the last Parisian ‘gaming circle’ Cercle Clichy-Montmartre close this week.
In March 2017, Jeremy Saderne beat 1,399 entrants in the €550 buy-in Winamax Poker Tour (WiPT) Main Event at Cercle Clichy-Montmartre for $105,579.
A coalition of some of the most influential French casinos wins a court case resulting in the dismemberment of the WiPT on French soil due to licensing issues.
Le Parisien has reported that Cercle Clichy-Montmartre, the last bastion of a once mighty network of Parisien ‘gaming circles’, has been shut down by authorities, leading to speculation that the owners had been watching too many episodes of Ozark.
In July, officials indicted at least five people involved with the Cercle Clichy-Montmartre operation on the charge of organised money laundering, concealed work, breach of trust and concealment of breach of trust. The Le Parisien piece claimed the Cercle Clichy-Montmartre might have cleaned upwards of €10m worth of dirty money.
The closure means all 15 Parisian ‘gaming circles’ have closed in recent years, including the 107-year old Aviation Club de France (ACF), the club responsible for enticing the World Poker Tour (WPT) to live up to its brand name and move out of America.
When the ACF closed, the Cercle Clichy-Montmartre became the hub for WPT National Events, World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOPC) events, and the WiPT.
There were also plans to hold the French Students Poker Championships in conjunction with PokerStars with the lucky winner picking up a $25,000 Platinum Pass for the PokerStars’ Player’s Championship (PSPC) in the January Bahamian contest.
Cercle Clichy-Montmartre didn’t prewarn players over the closure. Instead, players realised what had happened after turning up at the club to compete in a tournament advertised on Facebook, only to be greeted by a lock.
It sucks to be French.